Approaching offseason free agency, Westbrook makes his final start of the year Friday when the Cardinals continue their four-game series against the slumping Colorado Rockies.
Since St. Louis (83-76) acquired him from Cleveland on July 31 in a three-team deal that sent Ryan Ludwick(notes) to San Diego, Westbrook has gone 3-4 with a 3.88 ERA in 11 starts. St. Louis is five games under .500 since the start of August, falling out of first place - and eventually out of contention.
The right-hander didn’t allow a hit through 4 2-3 innings Sunday at Chicago, but was out of the game after 5 1-3, the second time in 11 starts with the Cardinals that he failed to last six innings. Westbrook allowed five runs, five hits and four walks but got credit for an 8-7 victory.
“I felt good early on,” he told the Cardinals’ official website. “…I came out the next inning (the sixth) and I wasn’t all over the place, I just wasn’t as sharp as I was early in the game, and it snowballed on me a little bit.”
While he won’t be able to make a playoff start after the Cardinals were mathematically eliminated Tuesday, Westbrook can reach 200 innings for the first time since 2006 if he goes five against Colorado. He made five total starts in 2008 and 2009, following Tommy John surgery.
Westbrook (9-11), who is also looking to reach double-digit wins for the first time since 2006, faces a Rockies club that has dropped 10 of 11 to fall from within one-half game of the NL West lead to completely out of the playoff race.
“I don’t like the thought of sitting here saying there’s only three more days left in the season,” manager Jim Tracy said following Thursday’s 6-1 loss in the series opener. “Whatever these lows we’re dealing with, we’ve got to get them figured out.”
Looking to avoid its first six-game skid since dropping eight in a row July 21-28, Colorado (83-76) will give the ball to left-hander Jorge De La Rosa(notes) (8-6, 4.24), who has won his last three starts against the Cardinals but has yet to face them in 2010.
De La Rosa, who missed 12 starts earlier this season with an injured middle finger on his left hand, has lost his last two outings after winning his previous three.
He walked a season high-tying five and surrendered three runs and four hits in six innings of Sunday’s 4-2 loss to San Francisco. De La Rosa has yielded at least one home run in each of his last five outings.
Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez(notes), whose .338 average leads the NL and whose 117 RBIs are one behind Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols(notes) for the league lead, did not play the series opener, but Tracy said he will be in the lineup Friday and Saturday.
St. Louis needs one win to reach 50 victories at home for the first time since 2005.
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